Yesterday (Wed. June 6, 2018) news broke that Conor McGregor was originally scheduled to make his Octagon return at the UFC 224 pay-per-view (PPV) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last month.
McGregor made this revelation in an Instagram post in which he was celebrating his 4th place ranking on Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Athletes For 2018 list. MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reports that Rafael dos Anjos was supposed to fight McGregor for the interim welterweight title at the event.
RDA is scheduled to take on Colby Covington for the interim welterweight championship in the co-main event of UFC 225 on pay-per-view (PPV) Saturday night (June 9, 2018). In a recent interview with Helwani, dos Anjos revealed that the UFC never directly contacted him about the fight with McGregor:
“Yeah, actually UFC didn’t contact me to talk about that fight at all,” dos Anjos said. “Everything that I’ve heard is from other people, other sources. But myself, the UFC didn’t contact me to talk about that fight. Not even once. I saw rumors, but nothing directly about the fight.”
If McGregor does decide to jump up to 170 pounds and go after his third-ever division title, and RDA is the champion, he’s more than willing to welcome the “Irish boy” to the welterweight division:
“If the Irish boy wants to try his third belt, I’ll be there,” said RDA. “I’m sure I will win. I have no doubts in my mind. I come this far on this. I had a good run at lightweight and now I went to welterweight and I’ve been having a good run. I have everything that it takes to win Saturday night. If he wants to make history, get his third belt, I’ll be there.”
Initially McGregor and dos Anjos were scheduled to face off against each other at UFC 196 in March of 2016. RDA was the then-lightweight champion and McGregor, then the featherweight champion, was looking to become the first-ever dual-weight champion in UFC history.
Unfortunately, RDA suffered a foot injury and was forced to pull out of the fight. Nate Diaz would step in to fight The Notorious One and start one of the biggest rivalries in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. Dos Anjos said he was extremely frustrated after pulling out of the fight, as he had never had to before in 37 professional fights up to that point:
“Oh yeah, I got really frustrated because I didn’t make it to the fight,” he said. “Not because it was a big money fight, nothing of that nature, just because I didn’t fight. I had 37 professional fights and I had never pulled out of a fight due to injury, and that was the first fight. I was really disappointed because of it. Then after that a lot of things happened; I switched camps, I lost my belt, I passed through a very bad moment, but I’m raising again.”